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Brown-crested Flycatcher

Silhouette FlycatchersFlycatchers
Brown-crested FlycatcherMyiarchus tyrannulus
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Tyrannidae

Basic Description

The Brown-crested Flycatcher’s quick, trilled song, whit-will-do, and its sharp calls are often the first indications of this unobtrusive bird’s presence. These large flycatchers wear shades of brown, olive, gray, lemon yellow, and rufous—the classic look of the genus Myiarchus. They range from the southwestern U.S. to Argentina and breed in habitats ranging from stream corridors to giant cactus, thorn forests, and middle-elevation woodlands. Old woodpecker holes are critical for nesting habitat. They feed mainly on insects that they catch in flight.

More ID Info
image of range map for Brown-crested Flycatcher
Year-roundBreedingMigrationNonbreeding
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look, and especially listen, for Brown-crested Flycatchers in tree canopies in woodlands along streams. They can be easy to hear but are often tricky to see well in dense foliage. In the U.S., look in woodlands and saguaro stands of southeast Arizona or in South Texas during summer. In these hot environments, they are most active in the early morning.

Other Names

  • Copetón Tiranillo (Spanish)
  • Tyran de Wied (French)

Backyard Tips

Yards with plenty of large trees, close to a river or stream, can attract nesting Brown-crested Flycatchers, especially if you provide nest boxes. Our NestWatch site provides plans for building a nest box of the right size, and All About Birdhouses has tips on providing safe, successful nest boxes.

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